As it is the first Template Tuesday of December, we thought we’d kick things off with a revisit to an old favourite for this time of year; using a mail merge to create Christmas address labels.
Christmas Address Labels – Getting Started
Before you start, there are three steps to follow:
- If there is a compatible built-in Avery template, use it. A number of standard label sizes (especially address labels) are compatible as those supplied by Avery – this simply means they use the same label size and layout, so you can print non-Avery labels with an Avery template.
If there isn’t a compatible Avery template code, you will need to have a copy of a suitable Word label template saved to your device OR the measurements and layout details of your sheet labels. You can find compatible Avery codes (where applicable), Word label templates, and measurement/layout details in our Label Templates section; select your label shape and then label size.
- Have your list of addresses ready to go; ideally, they should be saved in an Excel Spreadsheet, Outlook Contact List, Office Address List, Word Data File, Access Database, or Text File.
- When using Word’s Mail Merge tool, we recommend using the Step By Step Wizard, as this will guide you through the process in six easy steps. To do this, click on the Mailings tab at the top of the page, select Start Mail Merge, and then Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard.
Christmas Address Labels – Step One: Select Document Type
The first step is selecting the type of document you want to create; to create Christmas address labels, you need to select “Labels” from the list of options.
Christmas Address Labels – Step Two: Select Starting Document
The second step is selecting the specific document you want to use to create your Christmas address labels. In other words, this is where you select the specific template you want to use. You have THREE options; use a built-in Avery template (best option), create a label template, or use a saved label template.
- Built in Avery template: select “Change Document Layout” and click on “Label Options”. Set Printer Information to “Page Printers” and Label Vendor to “Avery A4/A5”. Find your Avery code in the list and click OK.
- Create a template: follow the steps above but instead of choosing an Avery code, you need to click on “New Label”. Enter the measurements and layout details of your sheet labels in the fields provided and click OK.
- Use a saved template: select “Start From Existing Document” and click on “Open”. Browse to your saved template and open it.
Christmas Address Labels – Step Three: Select Recipients
The third step is selecting your list of addresses. You can opt to enter your addresses manually at this point but its generally quicker and more accurate to use a saved list. Click on “Use an existing list” and browse to your saved list and open it.
If your data source has multiple sections (for example, a spreadsheet with multiple sheets), you will need to indicate which section contains your addresses. You also need to indicate if your list includes column headers (e.g. Name, Postcode etc).
Word then lists the addresses it has found in your data source. You can sort and filter your addresses at this point to exclude any you don’t want to use. Once you confirm you are happy with your list of addresses, Word will add a Next Record rule placeholder (<<NextRecord>>) in all of the blank labels in your template – apart from the top left label.
If you have used a saved label template, you will need to enter these rules yourself. Click inside the second label, then click on the Rules tool in the Mailings tab at the top of the page. Select Next Record from the list to add the rule. You can repeat this process for each blank label in your template (but NOT the top left label) OR use copy and paste.
Christmas Address Labels – Step Four: Arrange Your Labels
The fourth step is adding your design AND placeholders to your Christmas address labels.
Add your design to the first label and use the “Update all labels” button in the Wizard Panel to copy it into the rest of your blank labels. You can also use this button to replicate any changes you make to the first label across the rest of the template.
This option is not available if you are using a saved template; you will need to use copy and paste to fill in the rest of your template. You must leave the Next Record rule in place – and it must come BEFORE any placeholders in your design (otherwise the label will repeat the address information from the previous label).
Placeholders indicate where information from your address list should go. These placeholders look the same as the Next Record rule BUT instead of “Next Record” they will use the column headers from your list or the title of a preformatted option available from the Wizard Panel (e.g. Address Block, Greeting Line).
To add individual placeholders, click on More Items in the Panel and select your column. Alternatively, click on one of the preformatted options.
For example, the Address Block is a great way to add addresses. If your addresses don’t show up correctly in the preview box, use the Match Fields option to match the elements in the Address Block with the correct columns from your list. Scroll through a few addresses to make sure they will be picked up correctly when you complete the merge.
REMEMBER: the information represented by each placeholder will probably take up more space than the placeholder itself. Make sure your design includes space for the your information in its entirety.
Christmas Address Labels – Step Five: Preview Your Labels
The fifth step allows you to preview your completed Christmas address labels. Use this step to scroll through (at least) a few records to ensure that your design works properly – so that all of your addresses will fit neatly onto each address label. In particular, if you know one address in your list is particularly long, scroll to this record to check how this label turns out.
If you find any problems you can either go back a step to adjust your design OR use the “Edit Recipient List” to manually edit troublesome addresses and make them fit.
Christmas Address Labels – Step Six: Complete The Merge
The sixth step completes your merge and allows you to print your completed Christmas address labels.
We recommend test printing one sheet so you can check the alignment is correct. Click on “Print” and select the “From” option. Set the From/To values to reflect the number of blank labels on your sheet. For example, to print a sheet with 14 labels per sheet, enter 1 and 14.
You also need to review your print settings. Select a “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” setting, set the Page Size to A4, and ensure no scaling options are applied (e.g. less than 100% or “Fit to…” options). Use the media bypass tray of your printer (if it has one).
If your address labels are misaligned, adjust your design/template and do another test print to confirm the problem is fixed:
- If all of your address labels misalign in the SAME direction by the SAME amount, adjust the page margins. Increase or decrease the top page margin to move your designs down or up. Increase or decrease the left page margin to move your designs right or left.
- If the misalignment gets gradually worse down/across/out from the centre of your sheet, you probably have a scaling issue with your print settings. This can be corrected by checking the print settings as described above. You should also ensure you don’t have options like “Ignore Printer Settings” or “Use Default/Driver Settings” selected. You can run your device’s main software update tool to ensure you have the latest print driver installed. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, there may be a problem with your template; you will need to check that the template is using the correct measurements and layout.
Next Week On Template Tuesday – Top Tips For Creating Christmas Labels, Address Labels, and Gift Tags